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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. V:
A Treatise Against Two Letters of the...: Chapter 7

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 7.—He Suggests a Dilemma to Cœlestius.

What was that which the same pope replied to the bishops of Numidia concerning this very cause, because he had received letters from both Councils, as well from the Council of Carthage as from the Council of Mileve—does he not speak most plainly concerning infants? For these are his words: 2632 “For what your Fraternity 2633 asserts that they preach, that infants can be endowed with the rewards of eternal life even without the grace of baptism, is excessively silly; for unless they shall eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, they shall not have life in themselves. 2634 And they who maintain this as being theirs without regeneration, appear to me to wish to destroy baptism itself, since they proclaim that these have that which we believe is not to be conferred on them without baptism.” What does the ungrateful man say to this, when the Apostolic See had already spared him on his profession, as if he were corrected by its most benignant lenity? What does he say to this? Will infants after the end of their life, even if while they live they are not baptized in Christ, be in eternal life, or will they not? If he should say, “They will,” how then did he answer that he had condemned what had been uttered under his name “according to the judgment of Innocent, of blessed memory”? Lo, Pope Innocent, of blessed memory, says that infants have not life without Christ’s baptism, and without partaking of Christ’s body and blood. If he should say, “They will not,” how then, if they do not receive eternal life, are they certainly by consequence condemned in eternal death if they derive no original sin?



See Augustin’s Letters, 182, 5.


An address like “your Honour,” “your Love,” etc.


John vi. 54.

Next: Chapter 8